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Louisiana ends search for new voting machines amid criticism

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Louisiana ends search for new voting machines amid criticism

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s secretary of affirm made up our minds Wednesday to shelve his search for new voting machines after a barrage of complaints relating to the issue job from election technology companies, the head of a affirm Senate oversight committee and his fellow Republicans.

Secretary of Divulge Kyle Ardoin despatched a letter to Paula Tregre, Louisiana’s chief procurement officer, announcing his resolution, asking her to win the issue solicitation from a affirm web residing and inquiring for that she push aside protests filed by two companies that wanted to seek the work.

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“I’m withdrawing the (query for proposals) to use the subsequent few months within the hunt for to undo the damage to voter confidence finished by individuals that willfully unfold misinformation and disinformation,” Ardoin talked about in a press free up.

In his pointed letter to Tregre and a apply-up assertion, the Republican secretary of affirm accused Tregre of mishandling complaints from the distributors relating to the issue job, defended his search effort and suggested critics had been the utilize of national concerns about election integrity to derail wanted alternative voting machines.

“We can’t let election administration change into upright one more political football for politicians or voting machine distributors to kick round, with out any idea or challenge for the penalties,” he talked about.

Ardoin talked about he’ll redo the search within the lengthy stride, though he gave no date for that concept.

It’s the 2d time the secretary of affirm has jettisoned his effort to change 10,000 Election Day and early voting machines, a lot of that are many years conventional. Ardoin additionally all straight away met complications with a old effort in 2018.

He talked about his resolution to scrap the search for contractors that he started in January came after talks with Senate President Page Cortez and Condominium Speaker Clay Schexnayder, Republicans who backed Ardoin’s resolution to finish the issue solicitation.

“Louisiana elections are some of primarily the most uncover and uncover elections within the United States and giving more oversight to the job will ultimate reinforce that,” Schexnayder talked about in a press free up released by Ardoin’s office.

Cortez talked about the resolution “will carry an different for fat transparency.”

The lucrative contract used to be estimated to be worth as a lot as $100 million.

Ensuing from allegations of defective issue handling three years within the past, Ardoin already used to be going to face heightened hobby as he sought a new voting machine. However the search additionally came at some level of a national debate over the handling of the presidential election and amid baseless allegations of standard voter fraud by former President Donald Trump and his supporters.

The former president’s backers in Louisiana have suggested new machines could perchance move away the affirm’s elections more at threat of hacking. They’ve complained the open issue job would allow Louisiana’s novel voting machine seller, Dominion Voting Programs, to seek a new contract. Trump supporters suggest that Dominion’s machines had been somehow responsible for Trump’s loss in key swing states — but no longer his victory in Louisiana. Colorado-based completely mostly Dominion has sued a lot of excessive-profile figures nationally for spreading the allegations.

Meanwhile, the head of the Senate’s elections oversight committee, Republican Sen. Sharon Hewitt, talked about Ardoin rushed into the searching job too fast, and she known as on him last week to shelve the effort.

“For voters to belief our election machine, we should behavior an intensive, transparent and open job equal to what varied states have followed. I scrutinize forward to restarting this job and providing the authorities oversight and public enter that used to be so badly lacking from the two old failed attempts,” Hewitt talked about in a press free up Wednesday.

The search for voting machines already had been on preserve whereas Tregre reviewed complaints from two bidders, Texas-based completely mostly Hart InterCivic and Nebraska-based completely mostly Election Programs and Intention, identified as ES&S. They accused Ardoin of drawing the search phrases too narrowly and searching to manipulate the issue job to earnings Dominion.

Ardoin defended the search phrases as gorgeous. In his letter to Tregre, he talked about her resolution to temporarily stall the choice work whereas reviewing the protests has precipitated scheduling complications for his office and could perchance drag out disputes indefinitely before distributors also can supply proposals.

The secretary of affirm talked about canceling the machine alternative effort will give his office time to respond to concerns from lawmakers and the public, whereas additionally engaged on any wanted modifications to elaborate affirm regulation concerning the voting programs that are allowed in Louisiana.

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Sing Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte.

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Louisiana ends search for new voting machines amid criticism